Our Research and Policy Coordinator Bilal Shami was invited on 5th of December 2017 to speak at Saferworld's report launch, "Syria: Playing into their hands" in collaboration with David Keen, Professor at the London School of Economics.
The report explains how both the Syrian regime and international actors contributed to the increase in violence and fundamentalism in the Syrian conflict. It explains how the 'war on terror' discourse damaged the war's dynamics, while conditions that allowed for unrestricted state repression and nurtured militant fundamentalism remain enduring.
Bilal was joined by Ms. Anna Chernova from Oxfam as Expert Respondents on the theme of 'What next for Syria'. His speech engaged with the possibility of a post-conflict ethno-religious system of power-sharing that external actors would stand to benefit from. He also conveyed how external actors contributed to sectarianizing the conflict, and cemented their role in deciding the shape of Syria's future polity. Bilal stressed the need to insulate against external meddling that politicises Syria's societal diversity, and to take ownership of a political process that ultimately rebuilds a new national identity and accountable state institutions that provide for equal and just rights.